Monday, December 8, 2008


What God joined together,
a curt hurt
separated. The promise 
to have and to hold
tossed, crumpled,
by the road.

Though far out in a huff,
the proven meatball recipe called for a call,
cell phone tether
eased me back to a warm kitchen
and you, apronned, stirring
that famous red sauce,
tomato pasting our marriage.

An accosting lip is
better bit, tears
blinking to realize my stubborn steps
nearly led the eye to eye
to a storm.


Saturday, November 22, 2008


On the day I was wrong
about everything,
far from Jesus feet
perfumed by the penitent,
I loosened my shoe
rubbing the dust of the world
from my soul.

What should've been love,
tore like a blanket,
stained coffee dark,
heart bitter.

This husband,
reduced to a mad pissing boy,
woodshedding tears,
wringing the too late truth
from a dish towel
after spoiling supper.

You don't make up for this,
the rib is missing,
apple bit.
Sit sunken in a cornered couch,
watching His wash basin
circle the upper room.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Aqua Caliente

Hot water with kale and wide noodles
is soup.
Steep comfrey leaf with raspberry
for tea.
A basin with soap bar
makes a bath.
Only by itself is hot water
considered trouble.

Walk/Don't Walk

There's new blue paint
splattered in the crosswalk.
I don't know if its representation
of where Eula Long was hit,
or if its random pigmentation.
Fifty feet of pedestrian yo-yo,
the body whistles by,
an elder loon voice
broken by inattentive steel.

I heard the story
just a week before she died.
A lithographer, Eula went
to poetry seed when blind hands
refused paper and pen.
More barbed than the bark
of Saint Burbank's roses, her crone croon 
recorded "Cats and Doggerel",
just eight years short
of a very personal

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Roof Drums

Painted parrots border the ceiling,
expensive rubber roof
drums under rain,
sweet smoke of pecan wood
rises and reflected flickerings
play shadow puppet on the Persian-
Iranian carpet.

Home has moved indoors
for a season,
at brightest noon maybe
a cup of tea at the covered pool,
Saturday we'll gain back that hour
that would've helped me
at the bank.

Elections, play-offs,
birthdays, pumpkins,
short calendar, long
blankets, hour by hour
the breath draws closer
to frost. We don't rub our hands
together just to pray,
but we do pray.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Porch Light

Late summer, early evening bat
picks off no-see-ums
under circling swallows,
once again humidity reminds me
what i have in common with Banderas
is sticky t-shirts and jeans.

I down a bucket of iced hibiscus
and plot pennant races,
eager beaver stars
pop between whispering clouds,
ain't nothing here to hold
til it turns blue,
everythings numbered,
even the days til the stitches
come out of my dog's eye.

The command is to be still
and know which side the Bread of Life
is buttered on. Easier to face
in the face of a breeze, cricket chorus and solo
frog adding harmony to 
folded hands and bending knee.

Porch light plays out the night,
waiting for the prodigal,
robe folded in my lap,
the weight of a ring
turning cool in my palm.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


The dog days are not
a month to me, unless
it rains, I stash plastic baggies
in my civic duty pockets 
and allow two morning leashes
to pull my shoulder sockets
to the curb.

The still orange sun bedazzles
dew wet tips of fresh mowed green
as a squadron of dragonflies
hums yellow and blue beside us,
the pup following a nose
with time leaps of its own,
the matron content to trot a long,
as long as I follow protocol.

I married into this privilege
of seemly suburban postcardism,
convicted by an Irish movie script,
"if ya cain't love a dog, ya cain't love anything."
For all my choir singing and grace before meals,
it's somehow very tidy
that the depth of my heart is known
by morning romps and brushings
and fresh water in a bowl.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Hand Span

It's not good for a man
to be alone,
except at the piano.
If your right hand offend thee
add a bass note.

Strolling blues,
the envy of angels,
hand span halleluiahs
crimp demons, double octaves
chase the devil from chorus
to coda.

Exchange the time clock
for a metronome
and you're home on seven

Bars and spaces
frame the soul,
long dead Europeans
and ghetto saints
lay out the truth
on black and white
keys to the kingdom. 

If Mama made you play
thank her today,
if she didn't,
she will.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Nickels and Dimes

Certain strengths from bone
to age depart.
The grip is tenuous,
shifting the cup
from His Hands,
"Take and drink..."
Swallow pride to commune,
no pinkie promise,
this is cross your heart
and guard the changed contents,
water to wine,
beauty for ashes,
house boy to husband,
tattooed roses for thorns.

Our betraying kiss is
wiped Maybelline clean,
the rooster stilled at dawn.
Grace is the refill,
a warmer, fresh brewed,
the breakfast croissant
broken for you
and for many,
baskets of biscuits and crumbs
gathered here together, worth more
than many sparrows
and sums.

Abandoned headlines and folded news
obscure an anonymous  
spread of coins 
on coffee stained formica.
Just enough change
to call home,

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Time to measure months
in pestos,
first of the season,
multi birthday batch,
lunch back home from red eye flight.
I'm bent in the garden
gleaning each leaf of the basil
we brought up from seed.

What ever might be a monk in me
comes to bear as I groom
the straw thin branches and rub
pinched flowerlets
in my palm.

Even St Francis, the cemented guardian,
smiles as Jays and Chickadees
squawk for roosting rights
to his head.

In the cool of this
is when God walked with Adam,
salt shaker in His pocket,
ripe tomatoes 
on the vine.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Sundown on the Child

Suburban patriarch
puffs up florescent inflatables
and vacuums the pool.
Kids coming,
grandkids too,
reunion for most of us,
introduction for the intendeds 
and the baby.

Graduation is the cover,
envelopes and cameras,
the youngest is now a legit
know-it-all, her siblings hover
to praise and tease and eat.

The light of our world is freed
from roll call and on parade.
We watch her wave to the grandstand
and pray she adjusts her mirrors,
top down on the Volkswagen,
sundown on the child
raised up in the Way.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Dust to Must

Undone monks grapple
torn asphalt.
Cat shriek walls fall
in cement birthday layers
of caked infants,
mothers missing in mirrors,
a teacher's hand
flower pressed to a chalk
board of promise.

Emergency coffees riffle,
winged fingers make eye bridges.
The graves got greedy,
water drowned the bare mountains,
bamboo curtains slapped against
a window to the world.

We have long lost these uncles
of surging rice cups and water.
Shelter is a bag and sticks.
Family is any pulse in a storm.
Our living room is any part of a paycheck
in  relief.

The face of a nation
is held in the heart of a neighbor,
there's no denying two denarii won't do
what's due, but duty
isn't beauty, until it's you.

From dust, to must we
lift from the mud again, orphaned
resurrection from the suction
of martyred mire. 
The swinging Hand in the bucket
brigade is pierced,
its more than necessary now, to know
we're not alone.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Municipal Portion

I sprint to adjust the lawn watering
dervish device, illegal these many drought months
and then the day before a downpour,
I catch the outermost drops
on my satisfied boots.

There's a mortgage on
each blade of grass,
a second on the fence vines.
Our shade oak of righteousness
drinks in its municipal portion,
careful to stretch toward God
in a wireless sky.

The younger maple is spitting
a worrisome leaf curl,
the years old hurricane break
nearly exposed. Easy to see
not yet competing canopies
will make a front yard marriage
of trees, proud Papa, ever ready
at the rake.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Comes with Thorns

The vase is a pulpit
of the backyard rose,
snipped in prime
for appreciative sniffing
of the decorative predator.

Is it any wonder
it comes with thorns ?

The Lincoln, Stewart, American
Beauty burst to fragrance
of fresh torn black cherry
Jello pack.

We name ours after favorite
Red Sox Outfielder Coco Crisp
and bear the pollen stuffed nose
and sneeze as dues
of cultivation.

The storeboughts cause cancer
in Ecuador, pesticide runoff
suffocating fish.
The ugly cost of beauty
marring Mother's Day profits.

Long stems in the arms
of champions and queens,
we made this bed of
short sighted petals,
parading a legacy
of skin spotted

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Up Against the Call

"Our Father who..."
That's okay for you,
do you know who you're
talking to ?
Let's not quibble
about a man in the middle,
I am the me in
stiff neck hammer head
up against the Call.

Confess the mess. 
If it ain't broke
I'm not using it right,
talking 'bout my heart
it's supposed to be contrite.
Everything He's done for me
I'm taking it in stride,
little lower than the angels
but swelling up with pride.

Would I give a drink of water
to the least of these,
someone's son or daughter
could I heal their disease ?
do you care about that ?
don't scare me like that !

What's designed to connect us
been so blind it dissects us,
we all pretend we'd stand up to a tank
it's only on our knees
we have Someone to thank,
-the original Apostles took it to the bank
-but before the Holy Ghost 
-they're kissing up for rank.

He's the Big Brother man,
the care for each other Lamb,
look to the Lion and
join the race He won and ran.

Unchain the attitude,
show your wife some gratitude,
spare your kids the platitude.
A family's more than photos
ribboned in a box,
there's a key in the Blood we share
pouring through the locks.

Walk this mile in the sandals
we're unworthy to unlatch.
Remember He's the Fisherman
we're the daily catch.

"His Name art in Heaven"
is the game.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Due West

The geese don't know
they're Canadian,
tracking due west over
new growth red tip,
pollen spitting long leaf
and the waterway
of Echo Farm Golf Course.
I've got coffee brewed
for my eldest, who seeks
a wife today.

His Chevy half ton trekking
due west to Atlanta,
tracking a computer connection
from a Kenyan lady.
His alarm is
double past snooze,
the spaniel knows somethings up
even if he isn't yet.

It's first light now,
if this is a promise prepared,
we pray for sure election.
On the road to start a family,
Abraham, Joseph,
there's been some travellin' done.
I hear a zipper
close the duffel bag,
this time it's my

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

San Quentin

Thieves come against locks
on windows, locks on doors.
Your heart can't be stolen
when you give it away.

If your hand be extended,
an inmate befriended,
the crime of isolation
caves in.

At the bars or behind 'em,
lonely is where you find 'em,
the trouble on their faces
is a sin.

We pretend we can't be busted,
convince ourselves we're trusted, but
it's only by His Grace
they let us in.

His Light is not to blind them,
your smile never random,
start by trading places
from within.

Catechism Coins II

The view of the Garden,
from God's windowsill,
has rows of hearts
blossoms of His Will.

Catechism Coins I

Our worship is imperfect
yet He translates it to song.
The treasure trembling in our voices
has been His Kingdom
all along.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Sling Song

The fall of a giant
is just a stone's throw away.
It's not the skill of the wind up
when you let go and let God,
the purpose of heaven,
rides on your arm
to the degree you ride
your knees.

A prayer is both weapon
and shield,
rising like incense
with a megaton yield.
Even a mocker
in his midnight of days,
will cross his heart
and hope to die

It's that simple
and more than the simple

Clear your throat
and your conscience,
sing the song of a boy with a sling.

Hurl your heart,
hard and high,
'til it lands
in His Hands.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Jamaica Jif

Dawn breaks a robin shell sky,
Achai fruit too high for stones,
twitters, warbles, flute loose
bag of feathered marble notes,
hard shelled insects
stitching the air, 
'til heat
stills all but mango leaves.

Bougainvillea climbs clouds above
hibiscus hide a bus stop,
azuring sea, 
turquoise tin shack,
rolled lavender currency,
hot plate cappuccino, 
sweet Betty cream
dissolves a sugar block.

Perfumed patio, Patois patter
moving forward on the left,
bare feet, bear the weight on the Rock.

Swaying cane sign say,
"Walk good, keep fatalities low."

Hummingbirds and orchids twine
in salute of tangerine nectar.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Missionary Sweets

Dust red eyes
huddle in charcoal smoke
under a Jacaranda tree.
Our matatu taxi
has already passed this glow,
and now another,
blackened corn and bananas
grilled with plastic ash.

We bump and slow, 
candy tossed like doves in the air
above good toothless soil.

The street boys clamor,
soap and tea to follow,
the heart built bridge
of international impact,
is brightly wrapped
and sugared.

"Suffer the little children",
we didn't know then
what we need to know now.

Bright as a lion, a single smile
fills our open window,
no longer Fatherless,
the future gains a Name.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Suitcase Suite

As you spread a sun song
across the island,
my arm curls your pillow.

I recite my evening prayers
and photographs of our future,
fall one at a time
from the corners of the sky.

Angels, on the ready,
list to the side of the window box, 
pacing myself, I lay out clothes
for a run to the airport.

Clock set,
the day that brings us together,
has already spent
its midnight.

With dawn, your ocean,
still warm in memory,
will wade to me forever,
and, softened to you,
I'll cast off the shell
that kept me
from the beach.

Monday, March 24, 2008


I turn to see you rising
with the sun,
the number of days these hands
didn't touch you, are a rail of dust
between drawn blinds.

Slowly, caffeine and the Holy Ghost
bring my bones back
to the dance.
I remember a drum means
move this arm, the swinging hip,
once a signature,
begs for mercy.

There's yet a kiss here
and a doo-wop fit to turn tables.

Are you barefoot my Beretta ?

rejoin our jukebox marriage.
Drop the moon like a quarter
and push my G7.

It's only hours 'til Friday night
and I've got nothing on you,
that breath
won't take away.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


In the alley, we raised
arms to flight,
matching the kiss we threw
through windows of skirts
and police search lights.

Outside the theatre,
the music, late from switching cars,
put strings on a drum
and hung horns from the balcony,
where I proposed.

You asked what my hands knew
when you bit me;
why my heart stood guard,
where are the ribbons
that held our hips 'til morning,
how is a rainbow going to press
between pages of chocolate ?

We've rehearsed this promenade,
and now to the moon.
No fanfare,  just the bride
a down beat
and groom.

When a man, meaning me,
loves a woman, meaning you,
he leaves her his skin
and walks raw in the world,
gathering bits of halo
to make a home.

What returns to him,
brighter than frosted breath,
is the purpose of sun on roses,
an altar of stars
in bloom.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Worthy Gloves

The brown boots of the man
who lives here
fill the garden gate
with promise.
I'll stand firm as a fern
and flower, make hay
in the blaze of morning glory,
temper the loam
in raised beds.

What becomes a man the most
is the woman he becomes a man for,
every shovel turned and tapped.

Snake coil hose
asleep in nasturtium,
scamper cat, chickadee twitter,
half canvas half leather,
worthy gloves slide along
the long wood handle, as chores
bend toward the Lord's sunset.

The hands inside the gloves,
the feet inside the boots
await our evening's pairing.
Left to left, right
to righteous,
drizzling sweat begins to dazzle
as the dance of jeans and cotton shoulders
becomes a wish
at the end of a candle.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Hummingbird Stop

Our red gladiolas
grow so close to the letterbox
they flag the mail carrier
to a hummingbird stop.

A stamp on the day,
postcard smile of a nephew
reading the box scores,
maybe mama needs news
of wrens loose in the kitchen.

Its all normal, Norman,
we pour five cent lemonade in 
forever cups and watch
the neighbors cinch lawn clippings
in neat nylon.

Not a shot fired,
not a screen door slammed,
sometimes, thank Jesus, the boogie man
just dances to the bass.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Pocket Full of Worms

In Carolina we cut berries
thick as nickels,
makes more noise than
an apple plopping in a bowl.

I can't say breakfast
will last 'til lunch,
but a cup of coffee seems 
to roll like Scripture
from a preacher's tongue.

I'm settling in to some Southren ways,
I can whistle up a mockingbird
and I know if you oil boil
a pampano fish,
it'll swell up like a poison dog.

The heart warms quicker than bones,
root beer floating beneath the flag
in a white rocker just because it's sunny,
and that bit about the morning
ain't no lie.

In fact a dawn bloom magnolia
make you feel as home as a robin
with a pocket full of worms,
and then one Saturday,
you're up hand mowing the lawn,
as if you always cared.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


A servant's heart
doesn't beat his chest,
hand towel and soapy water
bringing light to the eyes
of the weary,
bended knee pouring grace
over the feet of the wounded
and war torn.

Mopping up the sweat of the world,
every janitor on the planet
knows something of that.
Nobody looking when you change
the water to water
and keep wiping tears.

Picking up after the children of God.
It's child's play. Tag.
You're it. No
tag's back.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Taking a Turn

EMS vehicles screaming by my
somebody's sunny day
taking a turn.

Angels with oxygen 
run up steps
check for vital signs...
ear to wisdom,
diligent hands,
a lamp onto thy feet...

My kitchen prayer shifts from chili
and crackers to the fate of a neighbor.
Background sirens just background
'til its our street,
'til its blood and breath,
life or death.

We trust the sterile gloves
to handle us, busy drivers
to pull aside, hospital doors,
shiny floors,
the technical, the medical...

Wheel the gurney into the new wing,
Intensive Prayer Unit,
the heart monitor reads two
or more gathered together,
mercy is a pulsing green line.

Friday, March 7, 2008


We've seen a little pain,
yellow McDonald's wrappers
more numerous than fish,
a missing row of crosses
aside the camouflaged road.
His Face set as flint
toward a new Jerusalem,
unarmoured innocents
slaughtered behind polling booth curtains.

The crusade's a broken record
written in a half language
shy of troublesome vowels.
A cup of water to the least of these
a silent, hidden page,
awaiting ink.

I tried tattooing scriptures
on my arms, but its the registered
heart that tells.
A pen is only mightier
than the sword
if you can read.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Short a Bloom

The March cardinal
keeps watch atop a budding pear.
Trill sergeant red above
the echoing trash men's
morning rounds.
Springer spaniel needs brushing,
loose matts of liver brown curl
scattered in the trees
for sparrow nests.

The tulip momento
of my Pastor's daughter's funeral
pushes through mud,
the yellow ones
we bought at market may blossom
sooner, but they won't match
the smile of her memorial

A man of the cloth
cut no different from the rest.
This spring will gain a flower
but be short a bloom.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Lap of the Lord

I lay my head
in the lap of the Lord.
The wrinkled clay of my brow
smoothed by His thumb.
In my hair His breeze
is a blue blanket to my soul,
His sunlight warm silk 
to my face.

The weight of my worries
gives way to prayer.
The problems of my bones
absolve in song. The bricks
around my heart become berries
to spread on toast.

All the sins of my tongue,
every boast, insult, and lie
melt into broth and butter.

As I lay my head in the lap of the Lord,
my eyes trace the Hand that moves the stars,
my ears echo with a brook voice
breaking over stones, even my toes
are glad in clover.

Let me vow to walk every corner I've cut
again, heel to toe,
straight and narrow.
Raise in me, dear God,
the artistry to repaint
every wall I've beat my head

I'm hungry now for the soup
I cried in. Let me blow
on the spoon of grace You give us,
bow my head
and dip my bread.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


You can mumble
into marbles,
grumble over peas,
stumble from your tiptoes
while you fumble for your keys,
tumble like a gymnast or
bumble like the bees,
as long as you are humble
you're heard.

Even if your tummy rumbles
He answers prayer.

Monday, March 3, 2008

When Color Goes Missing

The light of longest day
occurs in June,
when color goes missing
we call it night.

Dip our brush
in depths scooped out of us.
There's more room for wind.

Bible says we're clay,
we'll hold water 'til we break.
Drop the phone.
Let it echo in the canyon
eroding through us.

When my mom died
I started smoking Camels
on her grave.

When I heard about yours,
I quit.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Color to Cloth

Recycled wool splits the eye
of the hooking needle
to be plied into dragon rugs,
yellow scales rescued
from forgotten mittens.

The Spirit of the Lamb
spins the wheel
that brought these fibers
to my mother's hands.

Long coats of depression and
pants legs of sub-zero temperatures
find themselves in rose bush
or sea gull wing.

Bankers hang her carousel carpets
between sweeping surveillance cameras,
Turkish blue talismans soar
above Hopi sand snakes.

Taking the task of color to cloth
she'd soak and steam
a single sock to strain
strands of charcoal shade.

Investigating the promise of flight
these woven shreds afford,
I sit on my rug from Ma,
consecrating the umbilical skein
of heirlooms.

Thursday, February 28, 2008


His blood's thicker
than troubled water,
that much we already knew.
His blood's thicker than Pepsi,
I tell ya that's good news,
for the generation.

His blood's thicker than
cowboy coffee
boiling under the stars,
thicker than a Guiness
'tween a drunken driver's knees.

His blood's thicker than a sea
of sorrow, thicker than
the tears of all tomorrow, thicker than
a tide of grief or the pride
of a thief.

His blood's thicker than bad blood
between brothers, brother.
It's thicker than your skull,
thicker than skin,
gratefully, we drink it all in.

When we empty our hearts
its His cup we fill,
sweating the details in the olive garden,
to our Father's will.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

By One

My father's last breath
will follow
his next to last
by one.

My father's last breath
won't have the will
to cool a tea cup,
but it will change heaven
and earth
by one.

My father's last breath
will leave us looking at the lake,
the lake evaporating
to make clouds,
the clouds going dark
to make tears.

Eternity will begin
with this last breath.

Wheat and chaff,
the only consequence
worthy of our soul,
separated, one by one,
by the One.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Pillow Talk

It's only after midnight
you can force the clock to jump.
Ask the minutes to miss
a tock or two.

My neck is stiff,
muscles sore from pushing
the days away away.

Break two eggs in a pan for one.

Calendars get filled
tearing away pages,
moon becomes new
vaulting the pines.
Only an empty man
is full of himself.
This is sleep without you,
pillow talk
beneath my breath.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Jesus in Jeans

Jesus in jeans
isn't much of a stretch,
tool belt, thermos,
some decent boots.
He might shave for Sunday
sit in the back pew
of every church in the world
and smile at the preacher.

He's an everyday Saviour these days,
raising our spirits,
raising our sights.
Story is He overheard a cafe conversation,
"O halfway houses are a good idea,
but not on my street."

Jesus leaned in,
paid for the gentleman's coffee
and whispered, "According to My Father
the whole world's a halfway house.
Don't forget to tip
the waitress."

He's an everyday Saviour these days,
donating blood, again.
Every time we lift a finger to help
we're helped.

What would Jesus do without us ?

Truth is He couldn't stand it.
That's why He stands at the door...
ready to knock some sense of Him
into the heart of the world.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Counter Top

Always a spoon for sugar,
never a pinch,
get something that sweet
on your fingers
Mama make you wash your hands.

Salt is something
a cook can rub together,
smile come across your face
cool as a cloud of Vidalia onions
and sweet celery.

People with real jobs
get equal at lunch,
briefcases and bandanas
led by their bellies.

Day will come
we'll pass our hearts
easy as pepper
at the Lord's Table.

Right now, eyes big as
sliced tomatoes,
we put in our order
and wait for grace.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Too Familia

My daughter flips
earmarked magazines
from a chair in the lobby,
a mountain of brooding men
modeling revolutionary colognes
and capture the world watches
in half dressed leather rooms.

I won't whisper to her
but hope she hears me,
"Don't expect the world
to be the world to you,
every piece has been sold,
everything touchable marred."

We pay the insurance,
make a bond to collect her due.
In all her years I might shape this minute
or that, pass on a smile,
the wealth of a psalm.

We hope and we know we hope,
we lift eyes and head each morning
to the mockingbird's trumpet.
Some of the day's march
falls silent on our knees.

If I could hand her love in alabaster
velvet smooth and white,
a cup to catch the tears of Jesus,
holy water for her branch giving leaf,
then I'd be a father worthy.

Sand and pearls will
make her song.
Distance keep the war from hurting.
Dinners with grace and the boyfriend
careful to care,
I buckle as she drives us

Friday, February 15, 2008

Mandatory Eight

I circled today to stop lying.
I'll need to make another mark
to surrender snide,
pick a date to bury
the fake New York accent,
lay the sharp tongue
and Woody Woodpecker laugh
to rest.

Don't speak when hungry
except to say, "I'm hungry."
Don't speak when lonely
except to say, "I'm lonely,"
"Tired" when tired.

A mute button
would be bionic mutation,
what better machine than
a scale to weigh my words,
a vision of my voice in the world
as perceptive of sour notes
as American Idol judges.

This different drummer,
unsteady in time,
skips from the lightness
of laying down the mask.

As I step through the ropes
for the knock out punch,
my ears perk to the bell
ringing true.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Fits the Hammer

A boy's hand
fits the hammer
shy of his father's grip.
You grow into this business.
Center the nail
plane the planks,
doors, chairs, tables,
sign your name in sweat and sawdust.
Easy to daydream,
hope swinging from a tool belt
on the pegboard,
someday all this
will be all there is to it.

A beach girl
eyes the line of blue wind
and water,
her mom measures the clouds
for storms.
The difference between them
will narrow with years,
today's sunshine and sky,
the one thing they'll wear
forever, whether the house is full
of dreams, screams
or memories.

If it were only that,
buttering bread
and naming kittens,
we'd all be kings in castles
and our children saints.
But homes are broken,
holidays divided,
the most we hope for
is half of what we had.
Losers weepers.

Brother's keepers.
The ounce of prevention
roots underground.
An army of the other cheek turned
springs eternal from the empty grave.
He's charged us to carry the cloak in danger
a geography of extra miles.
Pick up where we're crossed
and swallow free,
there's only so much a cup
can hold until
it runneth over.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Sky-Stomach of God

Today  the butterflies are flying scared
the butterflies fly scared today
in the belly of God.

Butterflies fly scared
in the sky-stomach of God,
blue powder, gold powder wings
torn like the ozone layer.

Among a ring of monarchs
a petition circulates,
billions of butterflies needed
to fly in formation
above Antarctica snow.

The crimson rose of Ceylon,
the windmill of Nepal,
spearwinged cattle heart of Venezuela,
Burma's jungle glory,
blue adonis of Latvia,
purple spotted swallowtail
the island butterfly of New Guinea,
Mexico's figure eight and the Grecian shoemaker,
the red lace wing Filipino
and the sky blue morpho of the Amazon,
Nicaragua's blue doctor,
the clipperhead of Vietnam,
Hong Kong dragontail,
the button jewel of Dublin
and the Berlin emperor.

Butterflies in a row,
a living thread
to sew
the atmospheric wound.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


To expand my tiny heart
I go to the woodshed.

In an expression of empathy
with everything awkward,
I take in air
and let loose through the brass
bell of a soprano saxophone.

When my embrochure squeaks
I wrinkle my brow
to feign intensity.

Hoping to claim a serpentine charm
I begin each hour's lurch
with a long single note,
alone in a minaret
I call myself to prayer.

In tremolo,
I imagine legions of men
dropping the walls of our stubborn
private Jericho.

Brothers in circles playing
saxophones to learn what moods swing
when we come home from work.

Brothers playing saxophones
in compassionate schools.

Mentors humming harmony, as
the I am responsible reed section
mixes courage, saxophoning and air, 
the practised hearts
of men.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The secure test of hammocks

Never alone when we read,
always alone when we write.

Worst fear
is can't afford
a lessor one either.
A lesson is what prevents
a lessor one
from climbing the list.

I sin less in the kitchen
than other rooms,
the eye consumed
with small beads of air
in the honey.
The ghost of mama's spoons
whisk me away.

I have a minute
to pen a poem.
I have a pen,
just a minute,
it's a poem.

Early encompasing dark,
the Devil would say perpetual,
sunlight warmer through glass
and the grace to set ink
on a page, proves its not.

Time with,
time for,
all secondary queries to
Who is time from ?

A day of blue
sun baked
I've been drinking it all day
as He fills the cup.

What we did to someone here,
not even a footnote
to what He did to get us clear.